Uber’s Travis Kalanick brought up a really interesting point last night at the WSJD Live conference: 100% of taxi drivers are independent contractors, and over 50% of Uber drivers drive less than 9 hrs a week.
Instead of freaking out about benefits for part-time contractors, I think we should be freaked out about the bigger threat of automation — it’s likely that self-driving cars will put *all* drivers out of work within the decade. The same thing is happening in every industry.
We need policy-makers to come up with new solutions for a new class of unemployed people, a new definition of productivity for humans in a machine age. This is the real threat, and I’m not hearing many viable solutions. The two that seem most promising are direct cash transfers and national service programs focused on social needs like elder care and pre-K.